Translated by Katayoon Dashti
Edited by Mohammad Reza M. Karimi
An ancient castle with 700 rooms is one of the attractions named after the desert village Bayazeh in Khor-Biabanak, a city located 400 km from Isfahan.
Khor-Biabanak has numerous natural attractions, including palm trees, a salt lake and sandy hills.
Bayazeh Castle, with an antiquity of thousands of years, is designed in several stories. It has a double-storied basement, Mehr News Agency reported.
Earlier, there was a trench surrounding the castle, the high walls of which protected the castle from the attacks of thieves and plunderers. Even villagers used to keep their assets inside the castle several decades ago.
Bayazeh historical castle dates back to the Sassanid Era. It was registered on National Heritage List at No. 4701 during January 2002.
Walking in the desert refreshes the soul of every tourist. After passing through the palm trees, visitors come across a salt lake that has an enchanting ambience.
There is a hotel in Bayazeh Village to host domestic and foreign tourists.
Tourists can also visit Mesr Desert which is located 90 km off Bayazeh Village.
History of Habitation
Mesr is an oasis located in the central desert of Iran known as Dashte-Kavir in Persian. The central mountain ranges of Iran, which cross the desert, are close by.
The town’s only source of water and, therefore, lifeline flows from a spring near the foothills of the afore-mentioned mountains close to the heart of the village.
This is the only source of life for the gardens and date palm orchards that make this oasis such a special place.
As far as we know, it has been thus for several thousand years.
The documented history of human settlement in the region date back to 4,000 years, though other relatively reliable evidence suggests that human habitation is 7,000 years old.
The main activity of the local inhabitants during this incredibly long period had been agriculture and wresting sustenance out of the harsh conditions that are the reality of this land.
In more recent historical times (from about 2,000 years ago), the oasis appeared on the famous Silk Road.
Consequently, many travelers have passed through the area. Nasser Khosro, the famous Persian poet, philosopher and adventurer, traveled through the area about 950 years ago and mentioned it in his travel writing.
This is very well known to all literate Persian readers and foreign tourists.
The villages in the central desert are one of the favorite features of ecotourism visited by many Iranian and foreign eco-tourists every year.
Khour, Mesr and Garme are located in the southern part of the desert, which deserve more attention.
In fact, Mesr Village is one of the amazing natural attractions, especially for those who enjoy trekking through the rough but beautiful terrain of a desert.
Mesr (which means Egypt in English) is located 30 km north of Khor.
Despite being far away from the other spotlight of tourism in Iran, it gets quite many visitors during the year, half of which are foreigners.
Mesr is best known for its unique sand hills and an amazing bamboo field.
The sand hills around the village are known as thrones since the strong winds have formed peculiar and attractive shapes.
Takht-e Aroos and Takh-e Abbasi are among the most famous hills in the area. From the top of each sand throne, you get an amazing view of the village and the desert.
Another widely known attraction of the area is called Seleknon salt lake, which is covered by hive-like shapes formed by salt. These are of great interest to those interested in adventure travel.
Water for agriculture and drinking water is supplied by a subterranean aqueduct 25 km from Mesr Village. It is relatively sweet and fresh.
Because of its location in the south-central desert, weather in Mesr Village is warm and dry.
The village is believed to be 100 years old and was named after its founder Yousef (meaning Joseph). It was later changed to Chah-Deraz (Long Well), because it supplied water to the village.
Iranian Handicrafts for Chinese Expo
The Handicraft Union of Iran will participate in Chinese exhibitions to increase the country’s handicraft export by 300 percent.
Announcing this, director of the union’s Public Relations Department, Mostafa Khoshabi, said the objective will be pursued based on the studies conducted on China’s handicraft market.
He explained that the policy of establishing permanent handicraft sale centers in the target countries has been adopted since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 2012).
The official said three exhibitions were scheduled in various cities of China in the closing months of the current year.
The first expo was held in the city of Sichuan from Jan 23-20 and the second is underway from Feb. 1-24 in Beijing concurrent with the Chinese New Year.
Khoshabi went on to say that the third exhibition will be held in Shanghai from March 1-5, pointing out that Iranian handicrafts will be sold to customers in a permanent store, which will be established in Beijing.
All handicrafts will be showcased and sold in standard packages that include all specifications of the works.
Craft Training CoursesPlanned in Mashhad
A number of handicraft training courses are scheduled to be held in the Number 1 Training Center of Khorasan Razavi province’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department.
Mahnaz Taqavi, the head of the department’s Innovation and Research Center (Malek House), located in Mashhad, said the courses are aimed at promoting handicraft training in the province.
She said the courses will be offered to the public in several branches of handicrafts, including carpet designing, needlework, jewelry designing, pottery making and kilim weaving.
Taqavi noted that the department has started the registration of participants.
Mohammad Hassan Salehi-Maram, the deputy head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization for handicrafts, said earlier that the handicraft sector plays a key role in the economy.
Referring to the international sanctions imposed on Iran, Salehi-Maram said the rise in handicraft exports will help generate jobs and earn income for the country.
Salehi-Maram added that the availability of raw material and ease of training are among special advantages of the sector, noting that Iranian handicrafts have the capacity of substituting oil revenues.
By Baba Kouhi
In the market, in the cloister--only God I saw.
In the valley and on the mountain--only God I saw.
Him I have seen beside me oft in tribulation;
In favor and in fortune--only God I saw.
In prayer and fasting, in praise and contemplation,
In the religion of the Prophet--only God I saw.
Neither soul nor body, accident nor substance,
Qualities nor causes--only God I saw.
I open my eyes and by the light of His face around me
In all the eye discovered--only God I saw.
Like a candle I was melting in his fire:
Amidst the flames out flashing--only God I saw.
Myself with my own eyes I saw most clearly,
But when I looked with God’s eyes--only God I saw.
I passed away into nothingness, I vanished,
And lo, I was the All-living--only God I saw.
Yellow Split Pea Souffle
Stewing beef, 400 grams (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces)
Yellow split peas, 300 grams
Onion, 1 medium (finely chopped)
Eggs, 2 large
Turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon
Ground saffron, 1/4 teaspoon
Baking powder, 1 teaspoon
Salt and pepper to taste
Canola oil, 2 tablespoons
Dissolve ground saffron in one tablespoon of boiling water and set aside.
Pick over the peas and remove any stones. Wash and drain. Place the peas in a pot and pour four cups water over them.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until peas are tender (add more water during cooking, if necessary).
Drain and set aside. Heat two tablespoons of canola oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for three minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high, add beef and saute until brown on all sides. Add the turmeric, 1 1/2 cups of water, salt and pepper
Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beef is tender, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking until all liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Place the beef and peas in a large bowl; combine well. Using a food processor, grind the beef and pea mixture until smooth and soft.
Add the eggs, dissolved saffron, baking powder, salt and black pepper; mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Take a small amount of the mixture (about three tablespoons) and make a small ball out of it.
Flatten the ball and shape them into patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Poke a hole in the center. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
Reduce heat to medium. Place the yellow split pea souffle gently in the frying pan (making sure not to overcrowd). Fry until they are cooked through and golden brown on each side (once you see that the bottom has turned golden, flip them over).
Add more oil, if necessary. Be careful not to overcook and burn them. Place them on paper towel to absorb the extra oil. Then transfer to a serving dish and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve cold or hot with bread.
Health Benefits of Yellow Split Peas
Yellow split peas have a milder flavor than green peas because of the peas’ lower chlorophyll content.
You may find that the lighter flavor of yellow split peas makes them a good base for soups or vegetable stews.
Yellow split peas contain high amounts of important nutrients such as fiber, protein and vitamins while containing only a small amount of fat.
A single cup of yellow split peas contains 16 grams of fiber. Its high amount of fiber reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke and gastrointestinal diseases, among other benefits.
High fiber diets can also help you lose weight. Anderson and colleagues recommend that you include 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories in your daily diet.
Yellow split peas contain high amounts of protein at 16 grams per cup. The high protein content of split peas is particularly beneficial when compared with other sources of protein, such as red meats and dairy products.
According to the American Heart Association, high-protein diets that focus on meat and dairy expose your body to high amounts of saturated fats. Yellow split peas contain only a single gram of fat per cup.
A calligraphy exhibition titled “Haft Aseman” (Seven Heavens), which opened in Tehran’s Golestan Palace on Feb. 17, will run until March 6.